A car bomb in Syria killed eight people and wounded more than 20 yesterday in the sector in the north of the country currently under Turkey’s control, Ankara said.
“Eight civilians lost their lives and more than 20 were wounded in an attack by a booby-trapped vehicle,” a defence ministry statement said.
The statement blamed the attack on the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia, viewed by Ankara as an offshoot of the Kurdish PKK, which has fought an insurgency inside Turkey for the past 35 years.
But the force was until recently backed by Washington in the US fight against militant fighters in Syria.
The attack happened in Suluk, a village about 20 kilometres southeast of the Syrian border town of Tal Abyad, according to Britain-based war monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The Observatory gave a lower death toll, saying five people were killed and 13 wounded, with both civilians and fighters among the dead.
It did not say who carried out the attack.
Turkish forces and their proxies — former Syrian rebels hired as a ground force by Ankara — launched an offensive against Kurdish forces in Syria on October 9.
The Turkish push was aimed at seizing a strip of land roughly 30 kilometres deep along the 440-kilometre border between the two countries.
Ankara says it wants to establish a “safe zone” there in which to resettle some of the 3.6mn Syrian refugees it hosts on its soil. The invasion has displaced tens of thousands and left dozens of civilians dead, forcing Kurdish forces to retreat from some key towns.
RUSSIAN AIR STRIKES
LEAVE SEVEN DEAD
Meanwhile, air strikes by Syrian regime ally Russia killed seven civilians, including three children, in an anti-government bastion in northwestern Syria, a war monitor reported.
Eight others were wounded in the raids and some of them are in a “critical” condition, said Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor.
The air strikes — the third wave by Russian aircraft in eight days on northwestern Syria — struck the village of Kafr Ruma in the militant-run enclave of Idlib, the Observatory said.
The Idlib region, which is home to some 3mn people including many displaced by Syria’s eight-year civil war, is controlled by the country’s former Al Qaeda affiliate.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces launched a blistering military campaign against Idlib in April, killing around 1,000 civilians and displacing more than 400,000 people from their homes.
A ceasefire announced by Russia has largely held since late August, although the Observatory says dozens of civilians have been killed in sporadic bombardment since then.
Last month Assad said Idlib was standing in the way of an end to the civil war that has ravaged his country through most of the current decade.
Syria’s war has killed 370,000 people and displaced millions from their homes since beginning in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-Assad protests.
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